The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Interesting 'Italian' @ Vio Bell, Anamizu

It was Kim's birthday the week before our parents arrived in Japan, so we took Kim and Richie out to lunch at Vio Bell's, a quaint little cottage in an obscure location up in the hills somewhere in Anamizu. One of the teachers at school recommended this place, and the Ishikawa Jet Guidebook mentioned that this was a nice place to have lunch. It was a challenge looking for this place - I'd lost the directions given to me by the said teacher (has been a few months since she first wrote it) and we only had the vague directions from the Guidebook to follow. We drove around and around for about one hour before finally finding the place (thanks to the directions given by a lady in an inn in the area). We sat down, quite hungry but relieved.

Vio Bell is located next to a winery, up in a hill on a turn off from the 249 route between our house in Ukawa and Anamizu. It is such a cozy little place (would sit around 15 people) with nice views. They also sell some nice home-baked herb biscuits.

Vio Bell - the exterior, and the view from the inside

The types of meals served here are Italianesque with a daring, but sometimes not-so-complementary, twist. Credit ought to be given to the chef for being unconventional with his creations, although his dishes did have a somewhat 'home-made' feel to them (you know, taste not quite polished and presentation not quite professional?). It is definitely worth coming here to try the unusual combinations.


To start with, we ordered some Chicken and Banana Tortilla and Pork and Raisin Tortilla. I didn't find the chicken and banana to be very complementing to each other, but I quite liked the pork and raisin combination.

A piece of the Chicken and Banana Tortilla:


For my main dish, I could not resist ordering the Kuro-goma Ebi (black sesame seed and prawn) pasta. Rob went for the Mint pasta, which was served with mutton (lamb is not readily available in Japan). I liked the kuro-goma pasta, but then again I like most sesame-flavoured things. The mint pasta was nice, but not great. I'm not a big fan of red meat, and perhaps lamb would have been a more complementing meat for the minty flavour.

My Kuro-goma Ebi Pasta; Rob's Mint Pasta:


The cook told us that his No. 1 dish was the Ringo (apple) pizza. The name and thought of a sweet pizza was enough to pique our interests, so we ordered one to share to finish the meal off. It was quite nice, except for the fact that there was cheese on it too. To me, cheese and apple are not two ingredients that go well together. It was a creative thought though.

Apple Pizza:

All in all, it was a nice meal and a great chance to catch up with Kim and Richie before everyone became busy with spring vacation plans. Although there were a few things that didn't quite go well together, I admire the cook for being experimental.

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